This time around, we had the absolute pleasure to learn from Monica about her journey into the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. It’s a journey full of adventure, uncertainty, challenges and learning. If you’re thinking about getting into the industry but don’t know-how, this is for you. Remember, what’s holding you back is often not the rest of the world — it’s you.
Without further ado, read on to learn more about this amazing lady in crypto.
Tell us more about yourself and your background?
With 37 and 4 kids I was bored by my recruitment admin role and went on to look for something more flexible, that’d allow me to combine career and kids. As I had vast experience in admin roles, this was what I applied for.
One day I walked into an interview just to find, that the admin role I originally h applied for was already filled. However, before I had digested my surprise they offered me a role in a new cryptocurrency OTC broker. Without any financial background, I was hesitant at first. Long story short, considering the unique experience building up a business from the ground, would give me, I accepted and have been working at AIMS since. It’s been a journey full of learning and amazing mentors that helped me grow.
What motivates you to get up to work every morning?
My family does — knowing l have a greater purpose to provide in nurturing them and setting a good example. This is a huge responsibility. I get the kids ready for the morning school run and after a granola yoghurt bowl, I get on my red Brompton bike and cycle across south London into the city office.
The learning challenge on the job is very stimulating. The tech we’re building is interlinking digital asset trading and fintech to reduce cost. All savings are passed on to the All these while hence passing on the savings to the end customer. In a start-up business, you are wearing many hats and working very closely with your team which quickly evolves into a gang and I really enjoy the hustle & bustle of business development.
Are you actively trading?
I have bought, not sold or spent any.
To be honest, I have a low tolerance to high-risk trading and l still feel daunted in the whole trading experience on an exchange. There are just too many numbers jumping out at me, it’s like walking into a betting shop and placing a bet – with the difference that you don’t know what the odds are!
There are free education and online trading courses available and many trading platforms have free basic accounts to get beginners started. If only the whole trading process could be personalised like the AIMS OTC service where we do all the hard work behind the scenes on your behalf and below is an example of a ‘request for quote’ process.
1. Client sends Request For Quote (RFQ)
2. AIMS delivers trade quotation to Client
3. Client accepts quotation
4. Trade execution is complete and finalised
5. AIMS sends confirmation of trade and settlement instructions
If this personalised trading process was made this simple, I would feel more confident to experiment with trading more frequently. I know of a business looking to open bitcoin shops across Europe, where you can go into a store, buy and sell bitcoin and accessories to get going!
What kinds of assets do you invest in?
I keep a diverse portfolio and have a mixed bag of property, shares and cryptocurrencies.
It is advisable to invest in projects you are genuinely interested in, that share your values or ethos and to keep an eye out for new opportunities by being involved in those communities.
With the recent market downturn, have your views changed or the way you’d structure your portfolio?
Fortunately, my current portfolio does not need restructuring. Although, I have started to take my education on market analysis more seriously and applying it to the world economic crisis as it stands today. It gives me foresight into which sectors are performing well and helps me structure my trading strategies for the future.
What do you do to hedge risk?
Definitely portfolio diversification. By having a mixed bag of stocks, share, cryptocurrencies or whatever you want to invest in to make sure you don’t put all your eggs into one basket, it will make your portfolio more resilient to market downturns. I always buy at the dip (wait for the lowest price) so I know l am getting better value for my money and so my heart doesn’t drop each time the market fluctuates.
What do you think are the biggest challenges/problems in the world of cryptocurrency trading? What do you see as the biggest opportunity?
The biggest challenge is to eradicate fake trading volumes and wash trading on exchanges. The crypto market is subject to strong market manipulation and you must look beyond price, to doing your own research and invest in companies that you believe the product/service is genuinely filling a gap in the market, you share their values, ethos and whether they have a good team backing the business to make it a success.
The biggest opportunity is for an exchange to offer an all in one solution providing services in educational trading platform, custodial, alternative payment on ramp/off ramp options and crypto accessories with a user-friendly interface. Education is the key component to mass adoption, currently, blockchain, distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrencies are not easy to follow and understand, that’s why there are free courses widely available online.
How do people react when you try to explain what you’re doing?
My parents do not understand bitcoin, so l just compare my role to that of a forex trader. My younger siblings were dismissive at the start and only probed further to find out my role after 18 months!
My friends have a mixed reaction, finance people will roll their eyes and say magical money. There is a misconception that all brokers are either rich or going to be rich. I can confirm that this is not true as you can equally make money and lose money at any given time.
My misconceptions were also untrue. We are not men in suits on a trading floor as this image in my mind is the former traditional institutional culture. This crypto trading landscape is changing as many more start-ups are entering the scene from more diverse backgrounds, the lower entry price points to enter into crypto trading allows easy access to the public, this is an exciting time to start trading.
How do you store crypto?
70% in Cold storage with 30% in a hot wallet waiting for me to get trading. Keep hold of your own private keys to your cryptocurrencies.
I am of the opinion, if you don’t hold the private keys to your crypto then the crypto doesn’t truly belong to you.
Exchanges are centralised hotspots for security hacks which are a regular occurrence. You should always transfer your crypto as soon as possible.
If you use a hot wallet, ensure they are stored with a reputable company that would cover against theft or security hacks. Upgrade your online security by creating a secure password and invest in strong antivirus software.
There’s always a clash between decentralization, the wish for privacy and increasing regulation. Do you think all cryptocurrencies will fall under the scope of regulation someday? And is that a good or a bad thing?
A decentralised economic system is a mind-blowingly fantastic concept where decision making is distributed to the network of participants, who are keeping the network running and secure. Not just for privacy but for financial freedom outside government reach. These projects should be encouraged to happen for social and economic change.
Regulation is good so long as it is applied lightly enough to not stifle innovation. Fintech in emerging markets will continue to find a way to work with the financial conduct authority in order to expand and grow, attracting more investment and increasing credibility for crypto businesses seeking regulation who are adapting strong use cases alongside to benefit the financial system.
What’s your favourite treat?
A candlelit hot bubble bath with Andreas Antonopolous videos playing in the background!
If you’re intrigued and want to learn more about Monica’s journey into the crypto-sphere, check out her medium article here that describes how a mum of 4 without any financial background nor academic degree turned into a full-fledged OTC broker for cryptocurrencies.
You can also connect with her directly on LinkedIn here.